Academic journal article Notes

Music Theory and Analysis (MTA) International Journal of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory

Academic journal article Notes

Music Theory and Analysis (MTA) International Journal of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory

Article excerpt

Music Theory and Analysis (MTA) International Journal of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory. Edited by Pieter Berge, Steven Vande Moortele, and Nathan J. Martin. Published bi-annually. Vol 1, Issue 1 (September 2014). ISSN: 2295-5917 (print) / ISSN: 2295-5925 (online). Print-only subscriptions are not offered. Pricing varies based on institutional or individual subscriptions and discounts are available for members of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory and for literary agents. Inquiries or submissions: Music Theory & Analysis, Leuven University Press, Minderbroedersstraat 4, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Email: mta@lup.be.

As a music theorist writing a review for a journal read largely by music librarians, 1 fear abrogating the first dictum of all effective communication: know your audience. For that reason, I will strive to avoid analytic jargon and theoretic hypothesizing as much as possible, viciously redacting terms like Auskompenierung, "Klumpenhouwer Networks," and "medial caesura," wherever I might be tempted to use them, in favor of articulating how the first issue of the Music Theory and Analysis International Journal of the Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory (herein MTA) fits into the larger universe of English-language music-theory journals and--most importantly--whether or not it is the best interests of inquiring music librarians to scrape together the dregs of the acquisition budget to subscribe to yet another specialist publication.

I suspect if you have made it this far into my review, then you might be wondering, "Is the successor to the Dutch Journal of Music Theory (Tijdschrift voor Muzietheorie) worth purchasing?" My answer, in a word, is "yes." "Yes," that is, if your library serves any population of faculty, students, musicians, or community members with an interest (professional or otherwise) in music theory and analysis. While any self-respecting music library will carry top-tier titles like Music Theory Spectrum, The Journal of Music Theory, and Music Theory Analysis, musicologists in general (and music theorists, specifically) publish analytic work in a wide variety of places. Those same populations often seek to read the work of their peers (and assign it to their students), so it's important to know which journals will deliver the most bang for the buck. Simply put, I expect MTA to provide a good return on investment.

First, the preliminaries. This is a peer-reviewed journal with an international editorship, advisory board, list of contributors, and intended audience. Its focus--music theory and analysis--is evident in the title. Unlike many other similar journals, however, MTA attempts something novel: fostering discussion and interaction between scholars and musicians working both in North America and in Europe. Said discussion and interaction is long overdue, for ever since the middle of the twentieth century North America and England (and, one might mention, Finland) adopted Viennese theorist Heinrich Schenker as the flag-bearer for tonal analysis, while Germany remained wedded to the writings of its native son, Hugo Riemann, and other countries like France and Italy reworked time-honored traditions based on practical methods like partimenti. In short, the present day bears witness to a Tower-of-Babel situation in the field, with scholars interested in the same body of musical works often unable or unwilling to understand and value what one another is doing when it comes to theory and analysis.

Delving deeper, how does MTA propose to rectify the current state of affairs? Is simply juxtaposing work by scholars trained in different traditions enough to stimulate real dialogue and interaction? Juxtaposition is a starting point, and there have been plenty of anthologies including works by a variety of scholars publishing on a topic of similar interest that do just that. It seems, however, that this has not been enough to stimulate lasting engagement between diverse approaches. …

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